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Magnolia Hotel (Magnolia Petroleum Building)

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1922, Alfred C. Bossom with Lang and Witchell; 1999 adaptive reuse, Guy Thornton with Gensler. 1401 Commerce St.

The twenty-nine-story Renaissance Revival tower, with Pegasus, the “Flying Red Horse,” visible above the roof for miles, was the tallest building west of the Mississippi for twenty years and a city icon. English-trained, New York City architect Bossom designed the limestone structure for the Magnolia Petroleum Company, which merged with Mobil Oil in 1959, taking the flying red horse as its logo. While the tower is U-shaped, typical of the time for light and ventilation, the tall central well faces the street, instead of the rear, creating a dramatic effect of two slender towers resting on a tall, multifloor pedestal. A flying archway joins the towers at the seventeenth floor. The building’s owner, drugstore magnate Z. E. Marvin, was the local Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan in the early 1920s.

Signmaker J. B. McMath constructed a thirty-foot revolving horse trimmed in red neon in 1934. In deteriorated condition, Pegasus was removed in 1999 and replaced with a duplicate. The original was restored and installed at the Omni Dallas Convention Center Hotel (DS10).

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "Magnolia Hotel (Magnolia Petroleum Building)", [Dallas, Texas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Texas

Buildings of Texas: East, North Central, Panhandle and South Plains, and West, Gerald Moorhead and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2019, 147-148.

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